Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

purchase vegetable leaves, and scatter them on the surface; by which the fish are collected literally in heaps. They are forbidden to be touched or molested; it being regarded as a sacrilege of a most unpardonable kind, to attempt to use them as food. There are some other delicious spots in the neighbourhood of this beautiful mosque, in shady walks, gardens, and open places bordered with trees. On the right of the minaret in the plate is a barber's shop, the favourite haunt of the lover of news and scandal. In the poorest little town as well as the most prosperous city of the East, the barber's shop is indispensable to the comfort both of mind and body, and almost to the very existence of the people. The Oriental barber, in his bearing, dress, and position in society, is much more of a gentleman than his brother in Europe. He sometimes wears handsome clothes, with a handsome pair of pistols in his sash; and in his air and demeanour there is conscious importance, or self-respect, very different from the often servile and cringing manners of the European. He is often in independent circumstances, sometimes even wealthy; has his house of pleasure as well as of business, a handsomely dressed wife, many servants, and a circle of friends. He often keeps several hands in the shop to attend to the business, and sits down at his ease in a scarlet robe and Cashmere turban, to receive his customers; many of whom, grave and elderly

men like himself, sit and chat with him. The shop here depicted is one of the inferior class, but in a good place for business, as it stands near one of the gates. The Prince de Ligne, in his memoirs of his own life, in two small volumes, relates a singular adventure in the most revered mosque in Constantinople. By dint of bribes and promises he had with much difficulty prevailed on a Turk to conduct him to the mosque, in which it was at that time death for any Christian to be discovered: the prince was disguised in a Turkish dress, in which he looked very like a true believer; and his companion, in no little trepidation, conducted him at evening into the interior just before the hour of evening prayer. Dreading to expose him to the observation of the worshippers, who

- would soon assemble, the Turk led him to a kind of recess in an obscure part of the wall, where they were concealed from view. The mosque was soon filled w ith a number of the faithful; and the muttered sounds of prayer rose on every side. The prince, who had already satisfied his curiosity as to the building, put the courage and devotion of the Turk to the strangest trial imaginable. He took out from his vest a piece of ham and a piece of bread, with which he had provided himself, and, dividing them into two parts, insisted that his companion should eat one: the latter indignantly refused, and turned with loathing from the morsel, which was the highest possible abomination in such a place. The prince declared, and even rose from his seat, that he would instantly go forth from his retreat, and discover himself, when they would be torn in pieces by the assembly, if the Turk did not instantly eat the ham. In agonies of terror and remorse, on which his companion feasted, and in dread of immediate discovery, (for he saw that the prince was reckless and determined,) the poor Mohammedan actually took the ham, and eat it: the latter said, that he could not resist the temptation, even in such imminent danger, of forcing the Turk to eat pork in the heart of his holiest mosque, and witnessing the conflict between his fanaticism and his fear: he made him eat it up, every bit. Slowly, and in * « * ,,

exquisite misery, the Turk devoured the hateful thing, while his persecutor looked on, and his countrymen around were engaged in their last prayers of the day; and he felt all the time, that he not only himself committed a fearful sacrilege, but that he brought irretrievable dishonour on the mosque of the Prophet . His prayers and entreaties to be spared the test, had been in vain: and when the multitude were departed, and they left their hiding-place and the mosque, he turned in abhorrence from the Frank, and, without speaking a word, fled to his home, as if his sorrow and sin were too great for utterance.

BRIDGE OF MISSIS—ASIA MINOR.

This place is between Adana and Gorgola: there are traces of antiquity in the foreground, and below among the mountains is a castle; and the Polish officer, met with at Girgius Adeeb's, in Antioch, stated that there existed considerable ruins between this spot and Mount Taurus, which it was impossible, however, now to visit. He visited them in the course of military operations in Cilicia with Ibrahim Pasha; they lie within the Turcoman country: future travellers, provided with an escort and an intelligent servant, will find their investigation full of interest. Asia Minor, the loveliest of all lands, is at present but partially and feebly explored, save in the few main caravan routes.

The situation of Missis is very picturesque on the river Syhoon, the ancient Sarus, which is the largest river in the southern part of Asia Minor. The Cilician mountains are here bold, and finely varied in their forms. This country is rarely a land of drought to the traveller; the summer heats do not dry up its streams; they flow with a full and unshrunken body of water, which was a delightful sight to one who had first descended from the vast and desolate plains above, where he had lodged the previous night on the grass. The sun had not long risen when he came to the shore; the poor homes of Missis, the old bridge, which some soldiers of Ibrahim Pasha were crossing, looked cheerful; and he resolved to breakfast by the water-side, although some Turkish washerwomen, who were busy close at hand, were so dreadfully scandalized at his vicinity, that they made an uproar, because, by remaining so near their scene of operations, he inevitably became a spectator of their legs: "Do you not see," said a man who supported them, "that you must not intrude on their privacy?" Seeing that he still continued his meal on his favourite spot, they were liberal in their curses. Departing from Missis, and journeying towards Tarsus, around which the country looked cheerful and the villages pretty, he again entered the birth-place of St. Paul, whose ancient associations and present scenery are so impressive;—always the wide plain, the Cydnus, and the bold range of Mount Taurus, with its defiles. The letter to the French consul, Mons. Gillet, procured an earnest invitation to stop with him; on hesitating for a moment, " But where will you go, my friend?" said the Frenchman with a pleasant smile: the answer was impossible, for there was no other house in Tarsus; and in half an hour he was seated at a dejeune in the open divan, with his host, his wife, and daughter, a lovely child of

[graphic][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »